Eye Contact By John
Who gives it, who doesn't, and why.
Square Dancers fall into three categories when it comes to
giving other dancers eye contact.
The questions that first come up are:
- Eye contact is given most of the time.
- Eye contact is never given.
- Eye contact is sometimes given.
There have not
been any scientific studies done on the subject so my answers will be based on
my own observations:
- Who cares?
- Is there any importance to it at all?
- Do good Square Dancers give more eye contact than poor dancers?
- Do Square Dancers in general give less eye contact than other dancers in
other forms of dancing?
- Are dancers who give eye contact more "people oriented" and have more fun
than those who don't give eye contact?
- What percentage of dancers fall into each category?
(1) The answer to the first question is; very
few. Most dancers have never thought about the subject. It has been only
recently I have been observing dancers for eye contact.
answer to the second question is; probably very little. It is however
interesting to note the differences in dancers and why those differences
(3) The answer to the third question is; no. I have seen many
great dancers who give no eye contact. I have also seen many poor dancers give
lots of eye contact. There is no correlation between eye contact and dance
(4) The answer to the fourth question is; yes, probably. It
is difficult to compare Square Dancing to other forms of dancing because Square
Dancing is much different than most forms of dancing. When comparing Square
Dancers to Contra Dancers I am told by Contra Dancers that Contra Dancers give
much more eye contact than Square Dancers. I suspect dancers in other forms of
dancing give more eye contact also. Square Dancing is more technical in nature
than other dancing. Many dancers concentrate on what they are doing and don't
want the distraction of "interacting" with other dancers by giving eye
(5) The answer to the fifth question is; it appears to be the
case. People who give a lot of eye contact tend to be more people oriented. They
seem to be more out-going. People who give very little or no eye contact are
more reserved. Perhaps they feel their eyes will reveal something to others. It
is a little risky giving eye contact because sometimes you can be disappointed
with the response of others.
(6) The answer to the sixth question is;
less than fifty percent give any eye contact at all. My estimate is that perhaps
one in four dancers give eye contact frequently.
If you are dancer who
gives no eye contact, then give it a try sometime. Eye contact is not practical
during all of the moves. Any move where dancers are standing beside one another,
such as in an Ocean Wave, eye contact is not practical. Moves where you are
facing one another, such as Grand Right and Left or Allemande Left, offer good
opportunities for eye contact. The feeling of looking someone in the eyes and
seeing them smile and look at you is a good one. After all, isn't feeling good
part of the whole idea of dancing? If that is the only benefit of eye contact
then perhaps my answer to question #2 should be changed to YES.
This article may be reprinted with no further permission from the
authors and/or publications. Permission has been granted in advance for the reprinting
with the stipulation that credit be given to the contributing author/publisher.